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IHRD in small firms and internationalising SMEs

Context, Processes and People

Ciara T. Nolan

The aim of this chapter is to reflect on what is known about international human resource development (IHRD) in small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs). Drawing on a broad range of international literature, the chapter examines the key characteristics of SMEs and the factors shaping the nature and form of IHRD in this context. HRD has been identified as a key enabler of successful internationalisation in SMEs. At the same time, many of the barriers facing SMEs as they seek to internationalise are HRD-related. These include limited international experience and managerial competencies in comparison to their larger counterparts. However, the critical role played by employee human capital in the internationalisation process remains under-researched and under-theorised. The chapter examines these key issues, as well as considering the role that national culture plays on the implementation of HRD in the SME context. Overall, the chapter stresses the importance of understanding the need to research IHRD in SMEs on its own terms rather than in comparison to conceptualisations of IHRD derived from studies in large or multinational corporations (MNCs). The chapter concludes by outlining a number of future directions for IHRD research and identifies key implications for IHRD practice.

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IHRD in MNCs

Context, Processes and People

Yanqing Lai, Thomas Garavan and Ronan Carbery

This chapter provide a comprehensive review of IHRD in the context of multinational corporations (MNCs). Situated within the resource-based view and behavioural psychology perspective, the vital importance of IHRD, particularly training and development function, to any multinational organisations is illustrated. Next, the dichotomous debate of convergence–divergence or global–local approach in relation to the adoption of IHRD strategy, policies and practices in various host countries are presented. This is followed by the discussion of the application and implementation of IHRD/training practices in MNCs in relation to both international management groups and employees in host countries. Also, an array of macro- and micro-level contextual factors embrace home nation’s indigenous influence, host country effect and firm-specific attributes are identified to explain the localisation of IHRD policies and practices in MNCs. Finally, the implication for future IHRD research and practices are provided.

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Hussain Alhejji and Thomas Garavan

This chapter examines the dynamics of IHRD in international non-governmental organisations (INGOs), nonprofit and public organisations. First, the chapter discusses the importance of examining international non-governmental organisations, nonprofit and public organisations from an international HRD perspective and reviews the literature in order to identify key debates and critiques of current IHRD systems in each sector. Second, the challenges and opportunities relevant to international HRD in these sectors are set out. Third, the chapter discusses the implications for IHRD research and practice. The chapter argues that IHRD scholars must take a proactive step in supporting and guiding INGOs, nonprofit and public organisations’ efforts to meet the changing aspects of their internal and external environments.

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IHRD, diversity and inclusion

Context, Processes and People

Julie Gedro

This chapter explores IHRD’s role in fostering diverse and inclusive workplace environments. The chapter explores the constructs of diversity and inclusion and highlights and explains how power relations and structures, as well as language, can foster or inhibit inclusive workplace environments. Drawing from the construct of corporate social performance is a proposed way of reconciling multiple challenges related to diversity and inclusion because corporate social performance takes into account the profit motive for corporations, while concurrently operating with mindfulness about employee well-being. The chapter explains that diversity is focused on the HR decisions, such as recruitment, selection, promotion, termination, and those decisions take into account the demographics of those affected by the decisions. Inclusion requires mindful cultivation of organizational environments in which all employees feel part of the organization and all employees are respected and valued, and not pressured to assimilate their identities into a mainstream, majoritarian, ideal. The chapter advocates for corporations to take proactive, intentional stances toward creating merit-based and inclusive organizational environments.

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IHRD: developing expatriates and inpatriates

Context, Processes and People

Gary N. McLean, Junhee Kim and Oranuch (Jued) Pruetipibultham

This chapter explores expatriate and inpatriate development in the context of IHRD. The chapter highlights key issues to better understand expatriate and inpatriate development and addresses key challenges faced by expatriates and inpatriates. A range of HRD strategies are discussed to more effectively manage expatriate and inpatriate development in the context of IHRD from individual, family, organization, and government perspectives. The chapter suggests future research avenues for expatriate and inpatriate development in the context of IHRD.

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IHRD and virtual HRD

Context, Processes and People

Elisabeth E. Bennett and Rochell R. McWhorter

Virtual human resource development (VHRD) is a new area of inquiry and it is integral to international trade and transnational organizations. Increasingly, VHRD enables international HRD (IHRD) as globalization advances, although the extent to which it does depends upon technology access and navigating cross-cultural issues. This chapter discusses the intersection of VHRD with IHRD, introduces technology development from an IHRD perspective, and provides implications for practice and research. It offers perspective on various levels of culture associated with different types of HRD. Interwoven through this chapter are issues of knowledge, culture, learning, technical capacity, and the goals and boundaries of IHRD. It discusses new applications of technology, including artificial intelligence and the trend towards the Internet of Things. These movements continue to transform both the public sphere and workplace and, thus, alter strategies for IHRD. Implications include moving organizations from enterprise systems to ecosystems, promoting learning agility, and addressing ethical and practical challenges in technology access and sustainability.

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IHRD and strategic learning capability

Context, Processes and People

Hanna Moon and Wendy E.A. Ruona

Organizations need to be more agile than ever before to respond quickly to the uncertainties, ambiguities, and changes stimulated by a complex global environment. In this context, organizations are deeply challenged to develop an inimitable strategy that extends beyond national boundaries and that will deliver value to new, and often different, customers. This chapter explores the emerging concept of strategic learning so that IHRD professionals can be better positioned to consciously invest in this critical capability. The chapter explains what strategic learning capability is; how it plays in the global context; and why it is important for IHRD. A model that outlines the characteristics critical to the strategic learning process are set out and the model is used to explore specific interventions that can strengthen an organization’s capacity to ‘learn through’ strategy. Finally, challenges, opportunities, and implications related to strategic learning capability for IHRD are discussed.

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IHRD and managing knowledge

Context, Processes and People

Alexandre Ardichvili

In today’s global business environment, cross-border and cross-cultural knowledge management is one of the key drivers of organizational competitiveness. This chapter explores different roles IHRD plays in cross-border and cross-cultural knowledge management processes. The chapter starts with a discussion of how organizations develop and transfer their knowledge assets, and how knowledge shared is organized and facilitated. Next, the chapter explores how organizational knowledge is created, transferred, and shared in international and cross-cultural contexts. Finally, the challenges and opportunities for IHRD presented by the complex task of managing knowledge in global and international settings are set out.

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IHRD and lean management

Context, Processes and People

Meera Alagaraja

This chapter reviews the intersections of lean and international human resource development (IHRD) literature. The lean literature focuses on process improvement at the level of the organization, streamlining as well as aligning the overall vision and mission with individual departments, teams and employees. HRD emphasizes the central role of people in facilitating the formulation as well as implementation of lean strategies in organizations. Through the integration of these very different literatures, the chapter identifies factors that facilitate and or hinder the adoption, implementation and sustainability of lean implementation in organizations as well as explicate the relevance of these factors for enhancing the strategic value of IHRD. Organizations can identify critical factors that facilitate lean implementation and therefore increase opportunities for experiencing success. In addition, organizations can also recognize barriers that are hindering lean implementation. Finally, the chapter presents implications for IHRD theory, research and practice.

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IHRD and leader development

Context, Processes and People

Nicholas Clarke

This chapter explores international leader development as a significant area of inquiry and practice within the emerging field of international human resource development. The focus is specifically on leader as opposed to leadership development within an international context, reflecting the major body of work in this area to date, which has looked at the concept of global leaders and their development. The chapter takes a critical approach to the literature on global leader development and highlights the relatively poor data that exists regarding the impact of global leader development. It raises major questions that need to be addressed to further our understanding in this area if both theory and practice are to be enhanced. Chief among these include the need to better align both current theory and practice and the problems associated with global competence-based frameworks that reflect fairly ethnocentric notions of how leaders should be developed. The chapter argues that the literature should explore ideas that cross-cultural differences in leadership have implications for how leader development might be construed and even practised in differing cultural contexts. Drawing upon the popular model of leader development as comprising the three key components of assessment, challenge and support, the chapter identifies cultural limitations associated with three traditional methods used in leader development (1) three hundred and sixty degree feedback, (2) developmental job challenge and (3) self-directed learning. The chapter concludes with recommendations on directions for future research in the area of international leader development.